Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The SCBWI Conference in my region

This past weekend SCBWI-Michigan hosted Author/Poet Ellen Hopkins (link leads to my pal Kerry Madden's blog post, Ellen's recent poem about censorship) and Author-Illustrator Matt Faulkner and Editor Harold Underdown and Art Director Loraine Joyner of Peachtree and Literary Agent Jennie Dunham and Author Leslie Connor and Editor Tim Travaligni of Putnam. The whole weekend was outstanding. I advanced both my writing and my art, learned a lot and had a fabulous time.

Best take-away tip which was made clear right before the conference and then reinforced all weekend:
Do what you're best at. Pick what you want to do and pursue only that. Be persistent, never give up, but especially be yourself. Don't lose sight of that thing that you have that nobody else has -- because it's valuable.

Here's an interesting thing: The stuff my portfolio critiquers liked best was the wolf art from last month (pencil sketch here) -- and this picturebook art from 2 years ago --
and this piece I did wayyy back in 2002 -- for my very first picturebook. It didn't sell (didn't win the Margaret K. McElderry contest I entered it in) but it's nice to know the art still works. I always liked it. Maybe I'll revise the book and sell it someday. After reforming into a molehill that mountainous To-Do pile on the desk...

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